Caring for the Caregiver of Alzheimer’s Disease, Featuring Ronald Schwartz, MD

Caring for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be burdensome. From managing daily routines and their loved one’s health to trying to understand the behaviors associated with the disease, the caregiver role is incredibly complex.

Jamie Jones, a native of Magee, Miss., was the primary caregiver for her late husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. Jones said she always did the best that she could, but she constantly second-guessed herself and sometimes she felt like she was on a “roller coaster that never ended.”

“You panic to research and figure out what you can do, and then you start having to think about things like care and financial situations,” Jones said. “Then comes the frustration and then sometimes you get so frustrated, and then you have guilt because you got frustrated.”

She encouraged those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s to know that they are not alone and to seek out support to help navigate the complicated feelings and emotions caregivers experience. Jones said she found support through disentangleAD, a non-profit supporting Alzheimer’s care and caregivers, that was founded by Hattiesburg Clinic Neurologist Ronald Schwartz, MD, CPI.

During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, disentangleAD hosts its annual caregiver conference to help raise awareness, promote fundraising efforts and provide educational resources for caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease. This year’s event took place on Friday, Nov. 4.

“The caregiver stress affects their own personal health and well-being,” Schwartz said. “The goal [of disentangleAD] is to help ease the burden of Alzheimer’s disease by providing mini-grants designated for time-limited projects or services associated with caring for an individual with AD. Over the years, most of the financial support has been used for things like respite, interval care to have a paid caregiver come in for a few hours at a time and give that caregiver some relief.”

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